At Outdoor Shower Company, we are proud that our five-women business management team has led to so much incredible growth. Trailblazers like our female managers have made it possible for more women to take center-stage in the business world. It shows us just how far we’ve come to succeed at the highest level in woman in business.
Let’s take a look beyond ourselves and at the overall success of women in business. We’ll explore where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we will go in the future.
Where we’ve come from…
There’s overwhelming proof that the modern workplace would not be the same without powerful women that have paved the way. History is full of these female trailblazers in every area. From Joan of Arc to Rosa Parks to Emmeline Pankhurst, women have made their mark on the world with innovation and bold confrontation of the status quo. But how far have women in the workforce come?
Flashback to the beginning of the 20th century, and you will find where feminism started to make changes in the working environment. Before this, women were rarely in a position to own or run a business. Go further back and we never see women as business owners at all.
Over the next decades, the rise in female entrepreneurs like Coco Chanel and Ma Perkins established their own brands was a force to be reckoned with in a man’s mainstream world. These trailblazers fought against the common threats to women in the workplace, like discrimination and stigma. With brands like Chanel still going strong, it’s easy to see that the female entrepreneur’s strength led to huge success.
More women in the business world
A whistle-stop tour of the 20th century shows the strength of working women during World War II, such as Elizabeth Arden. During the female empowerment movement of the 1960s and 70s, women began to see entrepreneurship as a right and an opportunity. From the 1980s up to the turn of the millennium, we started to see businesswomen in the spotlight on their own merit. From Oprah Winfrey to Madonna, the world was finally beginning to recognize the importance of a strong female figurehead.
Finally in 1988, the Women’s Business Ownership Act was passed by Congress. This act eliminated laws that demanded a husband’s signature on documents and allowed female entrepreneurs to apply for government support independently. This was year zero when it comes to gender equality in the workplace.
Where women in business are now…
The current climate has seen an upsurge in women entrepreneurs. While there are significantly more females in the business world, gender and wage discrimination persists. Despite this, women are working tirelessly to redefine their roles in the working environment.
According to the 2018 report by the SCORE Association, women-owned enterprises increased by 45%. To put this into context, this was five times faster than the average between 2007 and 2016. But what has facilitated this rise? Female entrepreneurship has not just occurred in larger brand-name companies. There has been a rise in female entrepreneurship across the board. Women surveyed about their motivations to start a business have mentioned four key areas:
- Financial readiness
- Experience to start and run a successful business
- Following their passion
- A demand for more flexibility in their lives
Flexibility leads to greater success
With more women actively looking for balance in their lives, flexibility is the most significant driving factor for many. Female entrepreneurs often have some of the more traditionally feminine strengths, such as empathy, networking, and grappling with universal issues. For the female entrepreneur, these often intrinsic characteristics lend themselves naturally to business success when applied. Let’s examine this in the context of the construction industry.
There has recently been significant support in influential groups specifically to promote and support women in business. One example is the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), providing mentorship to help women into the construction industry. In the top 100 contracting companies of 2019, 44% of executive roles were occupied by women. For a traditionally male-dominated industry, this is a great metric. So what the leading theory for the reason for the success? More human-oriented, people-first professional skills.
Where we’re going…
Despite the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic, a positive change has been the rise in female entrepreneurs. There are many reasons why this could have happened. But investigations into why women start a business have highlighted that they wanted to make a difference in the world. In recent times, women entrepreneurs are more driven, motivated, focused and successful than ever before.
The women of the future are making their voices heard and are speaking up in the face of adversity. Just look at the context of #MeToo movement and the fact that social media has empowered everyone to support each other as a unified voice and speak up against wrongdoers. We are now witnessing this ownership and power translate into the boardroom as well. Female entrepreneurs and successful businesswomen are continuing to rise through the ranks and the results are astoundingly positive.
Here at Outdoor Shower Company, we are proud that we are part of a trailblazing movement. The movement of women in business right now has shown how far we’ve come as a society. Yes, battles have been won, but the war is not over. There are still areas that need to change and we believe the best way is to lead by example.